OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A former Omaha TV weatherman and spokesman for a former mayor has been accused of emailing death threats to the director of Douglas County Health Department over her handling of the new coronavirus outbreak.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s office said Wednesday that Ronald Gerrard Penzkowski, 57, was arrested Tuesday evening on suspicion of making terroristic threats and stalking. Investigators say he sent at least 15 messages starting March 20 to Dr. Adi Pour, threatening to “lynch” her and to cut her throat. Sheriff’s Capt. Wayne Hudson told the Omaha World-Herald that the emails made reference to public health measures, such as stay-at-home orders intended to slow the spread of the virus. Officials did not specify whether the messages indicated the sender believed that the measures went too far or not far enough.
Authorities said Penzkowski tried to disguise the origin of the emails, but a forensics team was able to trace them to Penzkowski. A search of his home turned up evidence consistent with the emails sent, Hudson said.
Penzkowski served director of communications for then-Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle a decade ago. Before that, he worked as a meteorologist at two different Omaha television stations.